Getting a Divorce. What are my options?
When married couples find themselves making that very difficult decision to end a marriage, a lot of things need to be considered when determining that next step. There are several options available to people wanting to get divorced. Each option has varying levels of risk, cost, and benefits. An experienced Tyler divorce lawyer can explain the risks and benefits of each option.
The concept of an “uncontested divorce” is fairly straightforward. In order to minimize the stress and costs of a divorce, the parties come to an agreement on their own. One or both of the parties hire attorneys to draft documents for separation, such as a property division or child custody agreement.
Many couples initially start the process intending to have an uncontested divorce only to find that ultimately some issue arises that causes the parties to have some fights. If there are more assets to divide or if there are young kids, the harder it is to keep the proceeding uncontested.
If you are able to agree on things like property, custody, and child support before filing for divorce, the divorce process will be quicker and cheaper.
If a couple is trying to keep things amicable, one option to help resolve disputes is through mediation. A mediator is a process where a neutral third party (the mediator) helps the couple reach final agreements on property, assets, liabilities, child support, and even custody.
A mediated settlement agreement (or “MSA”) is a contract that can be enforced by a judge. Texas family law judges are encouraged to honor mediated settlement agreements to resolve family law cases. There are costs to hire a mediator, but ultimately, if a resolution is reached at mediation, the overall costs of the divorce will still be less than if there is extended litigation.
In Tyler, Texas, there are many mediators to choose from. It is important to find a mediator who practices in family law and has participated in the family law mediation training.
Litigation is most commonly what happens in a Texas divorce. Litigating a Texas family law case is stressful, expensive, and takes a long time. Litigation is when both parties to a divorce hire lawyers to get the most possible from the other party. Litigation involves discovery requests, motions in court, hearings, and other types of processes. In Tyler and most other East Texas family courts, mediation is also required before heading to final trial.
Ultimately, Texas divorce litigation is expensive. As one family law judge in Tyler used to say, “if you cannot afford a custody fight, don’t get into a custody fight.” However, sometimes litigation is unavoidable. If you are going to engage in Texas divorce litigation,